"Ahem!" My gaze swung left as someone cleared their throat, and fixed on a tall, dark cowboy, dressed in fringed, sienna colored pants, a pumpkin tinted shirt, and black boots. He leaned against the wall his cheek bulging slightly from an apparent chaw.
The Judge hitched his head at the cowboy. "Ms. Davenport, This is Scott Randolph."
Mr. Randolph pushed himself off the wall and stood six feet from me. He tipped his hat and mumbled. "Ma'am. Please call me Tex."
I nodded at Mr. Randolph. "Tex."
It was hard to get a handle on Tex's looks, because large, dark lenses of gold wire-rimmed sunglasses hid his eyes and he wore his worn, black, pinch front, cowboy hat low. He wore no gun that I could see. Instead, a bullwhip hung from his belt.
His chestnut brown hair was long enough for the ends to rest on his shoulders. His square face supported the hint of a mustache on his upper lip. He looked ominous, but I had the feeling he was more businesslike.
After a thirty-second delay, Judge D******d said, "Mr. Randolph has an alternative proposal to prison, which we wish to discuss with you."
"An alternative?" My hopes rose. "Yes, I'll take it. Anything's better than prison."
"Nevertheless, papers need to be signed, so you need to know what you'll be getting into."
"I'm listening," I said, not hiding my sarcasm.
"Some think it's bad as or worse than prison," rolled off Mr. Scott (Tex) Randolph's tongue with a voice as deep and mellow as Sam Elliot.
"Is it just as long?"
"No, for every day you serve, you are forgiven ten days of your sentence."
My mouth dropped open. "That's six and a half months. I'll take it. Where is this and what do I do?"
You will spend all of your time at the Dude Ranch."
I narrowed my eyes. "Dude Ranch?"
He scratched the back of his neck. "Ah-huh. It's a ten thousand acre spread we have about fifteen miles from here in Hell Valley."
"And…what do I do?"
"You would be a servant. You would serve the clients."
A single eyebrow rose. "Am I missing something? What would I be serving?"
This is a bondage, bdsm Dude Ranch. You will be doing the same thing you've been doing or will be doing in prison, except no one will sneak into your cell and rape you in the middle of night."
"BDSM? With whips and chains?"
"Yes, there's some of that, it's up to your Master."
I scrunched my nose. "Master? So I would be a sex-slave."
"I don't know."
Tex glanced at the judge. "Well, your honor, it appears Ms. Davenport isn't interested, so I'll be on my way."
I gulped again. Sixty-six months of prison verses twenty-eight weeks of being a sex-slave. It was no contest. "I didn't say I wasn't interested. It just scares me a little."
Judge A*****e spoke up. "Mr. Randolph. Would it be possible to give Ms. Davenport…say a ten day trial at your ranch, where after the ten days she could stay or go to prison?"
"Sure, if it's all right with Ms. Davenport."
"Good, sign this paperwork."
"I stepped over to the desk and initialed all and signed the last sheet."
"Good," the cowboy said in his baritone voice. "I'll be outside while you give the Judge a b*****b."
My mouth dropped open. "Wha-a-a-a?"
"Give the Judge a b*****b."
I swallowed. "He just gave me the maximum sentence."
"And he's letting you spend your reduced sentence at the dude ranch."
"Do I have to?" I whined.
He nodded. "It's part of the deal. Now take off the jail jumpsuit, suck Judge Stevens dry and make sure you swallow."